New town bar hit by blaze

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Special Report - By Suz Elvey and Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

A fire broke out at new venue The Auc­tion House Bar in New Street yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) morn­ing.

Smoke could be seen bil­low­ing from the build­ing af­ter a fire started in the roof space at 11.50am. Fire­fight­ers en­tered the build­ing af­ter four fire en­gines and two height ve­hi­cles rushed to the town cen­tre blaze.

Bar man­ager Sean Fur­long was en­joy­ing a day off when he drove past the busi­ness and no­ticed all the com­mo­tion.

He said: “The fire is in the very back of the build­ing in the roof above the toi­lets. We don’t think it’s af­fected the op­er­a­tional space.

Evac­u­ated

“The bar was open at the time and had to be evac­u­ated.

“It’s too early at the mo­ment to spec­u­late about a cause but we are hop­ing the busi­ness won’t be too badly af­fected.”

Nearby Caffè Nero and Cen­tre for Cre­ativ­ity and En­ter­prise (CCE) were evac­u­ated as a pre­cau­tion and Gilbert Road and part of New Rents were cor­doned off by po­lice.

Betsy Aidinyantz from CCE said: “We smelt burn­ing plas­tic and one of our artists started scream­ing: ‘There’s a fire!’ So we called the fire bri­gade.” The fire was out by 1pm. The busi­ness only opened in May in the old build­ing pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by The Source bar.

Owner Alan Daly told the Ex­press at the time: “We’re hop­ing to at­tract a slightly older crowd, peo­ple who per­haps don’t want to go some­where at 7pm and have loud mu­sic blar­ing at them.

“It’s not a club and it’s not a pub, it’s more like a Lon­don bar which we don’t re­ally have here in Ash­ford.”

Emer­gency ser­vices at the scene

Betsy Aidinyantz

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